The government has announced a raft of new measures to better protect victims of domestic abuse, including greater management of the most dangerous convicted domestic abusers.
What do the new measures include?
Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) is now considered a national threat and a priority for policing. This puts it on a par with the existing threats of terrorism, civil emergencies, public disorder, cyber security incidents, child sexual abuse and serious and organised crime.
Stricter measures are in place for offenders sentenced to a year or more for controlling or coercive behaviour. This will include their name being included on the sex offenders’ register, multi-agency public protection arrangements from police, prison and probation services, and electronic tagging for the most dangerous to prevent them being within a certain radius of a victim/survivor’s property.
The Ask for ANI scheme is being extended to 18 job centres and benefit offices, and a new postcode checker to find the closest Ask for ANI location has launched. This codeword scheme, which helps victims to access support discreetly and quickly by simply asking for ‘ANI’, is already in place in pharmacies across the UK.
The guidance around Clare’s Law has been updated. The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), widely known as Clare’s Law, is a set of procedures to be used by the police when disclosing information to protect people who may be at risk of domestic abuse, for example, where their current or ex-partner has any previous history of violence or abuse. The new guidance means that this information will be accessible more quickly than previously.
From April 2023, up to £8.4 million will be allocated to projects run by specialist organisation to provide tailored, trauma-informed support to victims. This comes alongside grants to tackle perpetrators through interventions which address their behaviour.
What does this mean for employers?
It is worth being aware, and spreading the word among your people, that domestic abusers who coerce and control face punishment on a par with physical violence. You can find out more about understanding and responding to coercive and controlling behaviour here.
We recommend that all EIDA members use the Ask for ANI postcode checker to identify your local Ask for ANI locations and share these locations with your people. Victim/survivors have been ‘asking for ANI’ to seek emergency support in safe spaces on average once a week since the scheme launched in 2021. Although you may never know that a colleague has used the scheme, you could be saving someone’s life by sharing local Ask for ANI addresses with your people.
This raft of new measures highlights the seriousness with which domestic abuse and violence against women and girls is being treated by the government. With 2.4 million people experiencing domestic abuse in the last year, now is the time for all employers large and small to take action on domestic abuse.
Find out more about the government’s new measures here.